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Other titles in the Quick & Dirty Tips series:
Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words Yoby Mignon Fogarty
A Versus An
Sadly, a lot of people were taught the wrong rule for using the articles a and an. Its the sound of the next word that determines the word choice, not the first letter.
If the next word starts with a vowel sound, use an. If the next word starts with a consonant sound, use a. That means a word starting with u or o, for example, can require a or an depending on the pronunciation: a unicorn, an uncle, a onetime deal, an owner.
QUICK AND DIRTY TIP
To remember that words starting with certain letters can go either way, set the image in your mind of a man playing a ukulele under an umbrella—an image that uses two u-words that require different articles.
Copyright © 2011 by Mignon Fogarty, Inc.
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